By Nick Kieser
The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team has played 22 games and is halfway through the season, as of Sunday, March 18.
The Pioneers split a series to visiting non-conference team the Joliet Junior College Wolves, March 13.
The first game against Joliet had a score of 8-5, and Bill Hamilton, first baseman, hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to score the last four runs in. Hamilton now has two home runs on the season.
Lawson Factor, pitcher, made his starting debut in this first game at home against Joliet.
“No pun intended, but Lawson can be a factor for us when we need him,” said Ryan Hunt, head coach.
Lawson finished the game with four innings pitched and had three strikeouts.
“We were able to scrap together a win in game one with some heroics. A six-run inning in the seventh doesn’t happen often,” said Jason Barrett, assistant coach, about the late first game rally against Joliet.
The Pioneers’ momentum from that play did not transition into the next game.
“The hitting and pitching was not fully there. This was the first time this season that a team has worked harder than us,” said Hunt.
Hunt continued speaking about being the loss to Joliet, 7-2.
“The split is fine, but the effort and drive wasn’t there. We did not deserve to win the first game but we did.”
The Pioneers will go on to a conference game against Walters State.
Individually, one player has stuck out to Barrett, Brent Richey, sophomore outfielder.
“Good to see Brent Richey kind of snap out of an early season swoon,” said Barrett.
“I don’t think our guys will have any trouble getting up for the game with the ranking they have. I am sure we’ll be ready to play focused,” said Barrett, referring to the game versus Walters State. “Early wins and loses don’t matter much. It’s all about how we develop over the season.”
Hunt is clear on what he expects of his team when they go head-to-head with Walters State.
“Be ready to play as hard as you can. Don’t worry about the scoreboard,” said Hunt.
The Pioneers are playing well at home with a record of 9-2 so far going into the conference games versus Walters State.
Hunt commented on facing Walters State, the top-ranked team in TCCAA standings.
“If we play afraid, we’ll get whats headed to us,” he said.
Cumberland JV is the next team the Pioneers will play after Walters State on Wednesday, March 21, at 3 p.m. The home games will be live streamed on @VSCCPioneersBSB, the team’s Twitter page.
Photos by Emanuel DeJesus